Apple-FBI Hearing Postponed at Request of Justice Department

The anticipated Apple v. FBI hearing scheduled to take place today has been postponed. A federal court in California approved the postponement, which was filed less than 24 hours prior to the start of the trial.

The request to postpone came from the Justice Department, who claims they have new method for unlocking the encrypted iPhone that has become the subject of fierce debate over the past month.

Over the weekend, an “undisclosed outside party” demonstrated a “possible method” for unlocking the phone, and the Justice Department wants to test this new method. If successful, they will not need Apple’s help in accessing the encrypted iPhone.

DOJ Spokeswoman Melanie Newman said: “On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone.” … “We must first test this method to ensure that it doesn’t destroy the data on the phone, but we remain cautiously optimistic.”

The FBI has until April 5 to test this method, at which time they’re required to file a status report with the court.

This latest development is definitely good news, yet likely only a delay in addressing the real privacy issues at stake, and the broader question of whether the government has the right to access encrypted information. Regardless of whether this new method is successful, the encryption battle is still far from over.

Sources: International Business Times and USA Today and The Verge.